THE SUIT in which Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, General Secretary of National Democratic Congress (NDC) is seeking judgment before an Accra Fast-Track High Court that Edward Dua Agyeman's appointment by the President as the country's Auditor General was unconstitutional, has been adjourned sine die.
His Lordship, Justice P.K. Gyaesayor explained that since P.C. Ofori, Member of Parliament (MP) for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa had also filed a writ at the Supreme Court for a decision on the same matter, “ in my constitutional mandate, I shall only be reasonable if I stay proceedings to abide by the outcome of the matter pending before the Supreme Court.”
In the suit, Mr. Nketiah further maintained that by virtue of Article 199 of the Constitution and Section 10(a) of Act 584, Mr. Agyeman is not qualified to be the Auditor General, and that his continued stay in office constitutes a breach of the Constitution.
He therefore asked for an order to perpetually restrain Mr. Agyeman from holding himself up as Auditor General.
Joined to the suit alongside Mr. Agyeman is the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Mr. Joe Ghartey.
In his ruling, Justice Gyaesayor noted that the plaintiff's case bordered on the fact that the Auditor General's age was over 60 years and must therefore retire from public service.
He however said he had to decide whether this raised matters which ought to be referred to the Supreme Court since the Auditor General enjoys the same facilities enjoyed by an Appeal Court Judge.
With respect to the removal of the Auditor General, he said Article 182 (13) of Article 146 of the Constitution relating to the removal of a Justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature from office, shall apply to the Auditor General.
“These are matters which are of public interest which shall determine the position of other public officers appointed under Article 70 of the Constitution.
“I find that this requires an interpretation by the Supreme Court, being the highest court of the land, in order to determine once and for all, issues relating to such appointments,” he said.
Citing Mr. Appiah Ofori's writ before the Supreme Court in which he is invoking the original jurisdiction of the court to seek a declaration that by the combined effects of Articles 17, 70, 71, 144, 145, 146 and 182 of the Constitution, and on a true and proper interpretation of the Constitution, retirement age of the Auditor General is comparable to and material to that of a justice of the Court of Appeal.
He said the Supreme Court “is the only court under Article 130(a) of the Constitution which has the power to deal with all matters relating to the enforcement or interpretation of the Constitution”.
Justice Gyaesayor averred that the “power to interpret and to enforce the Constitution does not lie in this court and it is in that light that I see the writ issued in the Supreme Court by Hon. Ofori Appiah”.
In this wise, the judge said “it shall be reasonable to stay proceedings to abide by the outcome of the matter pending before the Supreme Court.”
He accordingly granted the application being sought by the defendants and stayed proceedings, adjourning sine die.
By James S. A. Kwashie